In the wake of enhancing engagement on Indian Pharmaceutical Research (IPR), India and US have the bilateral talks, where the top shots of both the country had expressed their intrest in sharing best practices and information on IPR and reaffirmed commitment to stakeholders consultations on related policy matters. It was assumed that US is pressuring India to push for liberal policies in favour of phrama MNCs seeking patent protection for their products in India.
Leading US health groups including AVAC, Oxfam America, and AR, Health Global Access Project (GAP), TAG (Treatment Action Group)and others have written to Barack Obama urging him to support India in providing “high-quality, low-cost generic medicines essential for health care around the world”.
In April, the US brought out the Special 301 report taking unilateral measure to pressure countries to accept IPR protection beyond WTO obligations. The report classified India as a “priority watch list country”, highlighting concerns related to Indian patent law, grant of compulsory licence and inclusion of a statement relating to CL for green technologies in India’s manufacturing policy.
Adding Indian laws are compliant to the WTO TRIPS agreement, the civil society letter said, “Recent US policy stances have sought to topple parts of India’s intellectual property regime that protect public health to advance interests of multinational pharmaceutical corporations in longer, stronger, and broader exclusive patent and related monopoly rights.”
India is a major manufacturer and exporter of low cost generic medicines. The domestic pharmaceutical industry registered exports worth $14.84 billion in the 2013-14. While the US itself contributes the majority of this sales, India is also a major supplier of generic medicines to other parts of the world.
While India is currently in the process of finalizing an IPR policy and a separate policy for pricing of patented medicines in the country, bilateral talks between the two nations along with Obama’s visit to India assume significance not only for the Indian pharma industry but for patients across the world.